Retrovirus Co-Op Review
McAfee Ain't Got Nothing on me
I have a special place in my heart for nerdy things related to old PC culture. I don't know what it is, perhaps it reminds me of an innocent youth in front of my 386DX messing with config.sys and autoexec.bat files trying to determine if I should include or not include himem.sys. Still with me? If you are, then I've got a game that plays to those emotions and memories quite well - best of all - the game takes inspiration from the classic PC game Descent with six degrees of freedom. The game is call Retrovirus, from indie developer Cadenza, and it not only features plenty of geeky throwbacks, but a two player co-op campaign.
In Retrovirus, you assume the role of an anti-virus program put into the inner workings of a PC infected by a worm. Your job is to seek out and destroy all of the nasty stuff left behind by the worm and ultimately take it down. Along the way you'll travel to different areas of a PC - email, web browser, desktop, etc. While all the areas look pretty similar, there's several little things that add character. For instance, while heading into the email program you'll see little "E" envelopes floating through the tubes.
Your ship is equipped with a pretty basic gun to start, it features a pair of lasers, but along the way you'll unlock shotguns, gatling guns, and a handful of others. All of your weapons are powered by "cycles" - so while there is unlimited ammo you can only perform so many cycles per second.
Retrovirus also features an XP system based on storage capacity. You'll be picking up bits, bytes, kilobytes and megabytes of experience from fallen foes working towards certain thresholds to upgrade. Once you upgrade there's a few dozen options you can unlock, customizing your ship, weapons, or the ability to scan.
Scanning is what sets Retrovirus apart from other shooters like this. It serves two purposes, the first is activated by holding the scan key, it will scan a large area pointing out infections and points of interest for a short period of time. The second purpose is actually a weapon modifier. By scanning quickly and then shooting through the scan you can create small gravity wells, stick explosives to enemies, or even "push" enemies around. You can also use the scan ability to interact with the environment.
I really love the look of Retrovirus. Cadenza has done a great job creating the inner workings of a computer, giving the levels muted clean colors mixed with hard edges. When combined with the organic looking viruses - which feature bright purples and greens mixed with their grotesque figures. Since you'll be picking off the damage from the inner workings of the PC, the contrast between the two make it really easy to see.